Mental Health Awareness Month – NAMI Wants to Cure Stigma

Mental Health Awareness month has been observed in May since the 1940’s. The goal of this observation is to increase public knowledge about Mental Health disorders and the people who suffer from them. Allowing people to speak out about their mental illnesses, and ideally cure the stigma that traditionally comes with having a mental illness.

NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) has chosen the theme of #CureStigma this year. 

What Is Stigma?

People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying and even discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult. Stigma is when someone, or you yourself, views you in a negative way because you have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as shame that can be felt as a judgement from someone else or a feeling that is internal, something that confuses feeling bad with being bad.

The Good News? “Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure.”

 

How to Use Your Voice to Cure Stigma and Support Mental Health Awareness Month:

 

Educate Yourself

There’s plenty to learn about mental health. Start on NAMI’s website to get statistics and discussion about our current state. Here’s a few statistics that I find eye-opening: 

  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
  • Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.,20 the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–14 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.

Advocate

Now that you’re informed, take action! There are numerous ways to advocate for mental health. Write to your elected officials, join a local advocacy group, or read about other ways to help on NAMI’s website. 

Speak Up on Social

You may have already seen posts supporting Mental Health Month in your FB and Instagram feeds. Join in! Share those posts, or post your own. Let your followers know that mental health is important to you.  Here’s a few images you can snag to share: 

 

Donate or Raise Funds

This is pretty simple. The organizations that support Mental Health initiatives are generally non-profits and run on donations. Donate to your local mental health organization, or donate directly to NAMI. Every little bit helps. 

 

How are you observing Mental Health Month? Let me know in the comments!